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Champions of Care bring passion to annual fundraising event

By: Mary Zahner Bauer, KCH Director of Donor Relations
Published: Sept 20, 2022

Dr. Mark Davidner and his wife Diane have a long history with Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care (KCH), from its very beginnings. As a local oncologist, Dr. Davidner had a vision to provide a way for his patients to receive compassionate, specialized end-of-life care in the comfort of their own homes. In 1980 Mark, along with Dr. Alan Fleming, worked diligently to bring together a group of hospital executives to make this dream a reality. Kansas City Hospice served its first patient on November 3, 1980. Fast forward to 2022 where Mark and Diane have come full circle to serve as honorary chairs of our signature fundraising event, Sunday Night Live, celebrating all that has been achieved because of his dream. 

Diane & Dr. Mark Davidner, Honorary Chairs

Over the past 42 years, Mark and Diane have witnessed the expansion of our service area to 12 counties on both sides of the state line. We are proud to now provide both hospice and palliative care to patients in homes, long-term care facilities and two hospice houses. We have also expanded our community-based services with KCH Solace House, the regional leader in comprehensive grief support services. Diane has praised KCH for the care she saw provided to friends in the past, and more recently for the care given to her sister-in-law and, just as importantly, to her brother and nephew as they navigated their grief journey.

When our signature fundraising event started in 2004, its purpose was to help raise the capital funds needed to build the region’s first free-standing inpatient facility, Kansas City Hospice House. One of the small but mighty women who worked hard to make that dream happen was Fran Martinsen. Fran’s passion was brought full circle as she spent her final days receiving peaceful care provided at the sacred hospice house she helped build. In 2016, when Fran was the event’s Honorary Chair, she was determined to try something out of the box and Sunday Night Live was born. KCH leadership determined the proceeds would benefit not only the Kansas City Hospice House but the multitude of programs we offer and community needs we meet. 

This year, Fran’s granddaughter Molly Wilson is leading in her grandmother’s footsteps as one of the Event Co-chairs, along with Molly’s husband Andrew Wilson and Carol Barnett. It’s a meaningful experience for the Wilsons, as Molly has worked side by side with her grandparents for years helping with this event. 

Honorary Chairs, Dr. Mark & Diane Davidner, Event Co-Chairs, Molly & Andrew Wilson and Carol Barnett, and KCH President & CEO, David Wiley

Carol herself is no novice to the event, as she was by Fran’s side for the first Sunday Night Live event in 2016 and has worked tirelessly as a volunteer to further the KCH mission since 2006. Along with volunteering to co-chair Sunday Night Live, you can find Carol welcoming families at NorthCare Hospice House, Kansas City Hospice House and Solace House, as well as serving in her favorite role as a patient care volunteer. In her spare time, Carol serves on the Kansas City Hospice Foundation Board. Little did she know when her father was cared for by KCH in 2005, that the mission of bringing expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance and hope to those affected by life-limiting illness or by grief would enter her soul, leading her to become one of our most passionate advocates. 

We could not ask for better Champions of Care to lead Sunday Night Live. We hope you will join this awesome group for a night of remembrance, joy, and support. Patron Party tickets are also available, for an evening hosted by Honorary Chairs Mark and Diane in their home. 

Join us on October 2nd at Power & Light for a fun-filled evening of entertainment! KCHospice.org/SNL for event information and tickets.


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